Woodruff and Colleagues

ncreasing Team Productivity

I once held the position of Assistant Accountant at one of the “Big 5” Canadian banks.  It was in a city that was known for the transient nature of the people living there.  One of the favoured places of employment was in the Oil and Gas Industry, and every one of the 9 tellers I was supervising wanted to be working in that industry, not this bank.  Every day I would arrive at work at 8:00 a.m. and every day, starting around 3:00 p.m., I would be reminded of that fact as not one of those tellers’ cash would balance.  Every day I would leave the bank around 8:00 p.m. after attempting to find the multitude of accounting errors.  It was the beginning of the end of my banking career, and I’ve had a great deal of time to reflect on the behaviour of these tellers ever since.


In my younger years I held positions that I wasn’t crazy about.  One was doing inventory in a summer job (counting items just doesn’t do it for me).  Luckily, it was just a summer position and we can all do things we don’t enjoy for 2 months without too much stress.  Another was a position where I really didn’t know how to do the job, and no-one wanted to train me.  I think I lasted about 6 weeks in that position before quitting. 


The importance of identifying, attracting, and hiring the “right” person cannot be overly stressed.  I’ve seen suggested figures of $3,300.00 as the cost to hiring a receptionist, and as high as $20,000.00 to hire an engineer.  These are the costs BEFORE an offer is made.  If you choose the wrong candidate, you have to go through the whole process and spend the same amount all over again.  I suggest a potential employer take the time to truly understand the needs of the position and what traits and characteristics you need from the person filling that position.  Imagine, if the people hiring those tellers had any idea that they would fly the coop the moment an opportunity in Oil and Gas arose, how much money could have been saved.  Starting with a solid understanding of the position and the current team dynamics and company culture will definitely help to make the right choice.  Compliment that with good screening procedures, properly structured interview questions, and interviewers who recognize the characteristics (rather than simply the skills and education) of the ideal candidate will go a long way to saving a company money in the hiring process.


The 5 necessities when considering hiring a new employee can be found in this guide.

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